Sharpen Your Chainsaw Like a Pro

Date Posted: 15 July 2022 

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Chainsaws are one of your best tools for cutting through wood and other tough materials. However, you can't expect it to work non-stop without any kind of maintenance. Like any other cutting device, it needs sharpening every now and then. 

Failure to do routine chainsaw sharpening can dull your blade and result in uneven or jagged cuts. Your arms will also take on a lot more strain as the saw snags and struggles to do its job. A chainsaw sharpener exists to remedy this issue.

Here's everything you need to know about how to sharpen a chainsaw, when to sharpen it, and what sharpeners to buy.

The Importance of Chainsaw Sharpening 

Sharpening chainsaw chains is an act that often goes forgotten by amateurs. Chainsaws are so powerful that most people don't consider sharpening them for improved or maintained performance. 

Additionally, different types of chains require different frequencies of sharpening. For example, a full chisel chain has squared teeth that need regular sharpening to maintain an edge. Meanwhile, a semi-chisel chain with rounded corners lasts longer before going dull. 

1. Safety

A dull chainsaw is slow and dangerous to use. Ideally, your tool will cut through wood without issue. However, a dull chain or blade can stagger the cut and result in a much messier job. 

In a worst-case scenario, a dull chain can cause kickback since the teeth won't be able to cut through the wood. Your chain gets stuck and then dislodges in the wrong direction.

If you're lucky, all that'll happen is you get knocked on your rear end. However, even a dull chain can cut through flesh with ease. 

A fully-sharpened chainsaw is much less likely to kick back and is safer to use. 

2. Better Performance

Despite how powerful a chainsaw is, it won't perform as well if it hasn't been sharpened at some point. A dull blade can get caught on the materials you're cutting. If it does go through, the cut may be messy and jagged. 

You can expect a sharpened chainsaw to cut quickly, cleanly, and without any major safety issues. It may even use less fuel overall if it isn't struggling to cut with a dull chain. 

3. Prolongs the Lifespan of Your Chainsaw

A chainsaw can last a long time when they're treated well. Gas-powered options often last over ten years if only used occasionally. Electric ones last as long as the battery does. 

If you fail to sharpen your chainsaw, its lifespan may suffer. There are a few main reasons why sharpening your chainsaw can help it last longer.

First, the chain is more likely to get caught on the material you're cutting and get damaged if it's dull. Second, it's easy to inspect the chain for any damages while sharpening it. Finally, the engine won't have to work as hard to cut through an object. 

When to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaw sharpening is an essential part of chainsaw maintenance. However, that doesn't mean it's something you'll need to do every time you use it or even every weekend. Instead, it's more something you'll have to decide on yourself. 

There are three things to keep in mind if you're not sure whether to sharpen or not. 

Have you hit something hard with your chainsaw? Is it running as well as expected? And when was the last time you used your chainsaw? 

1. When You Hit Something Hard

One of the most immediate ways to know you need to grab a chainsaw sharpener is if you hit something hard. This may be a rock, a piece of metal, or concrete. Even hitting dirt can cause damage to your blade. 

You'll be lucky if all your chain suffers is dulling. At worst, you may damage it well beyond saving. As long as the chain or blade is intact, you should be able to sharpen it as good as new. 

2. When You Haven't Used the Equipment for Months

If your chainsaw has been stored for a few months without use, it means it hasn't been sharpened recently. Maybe you sharpened it right before storing it. Or perhaps you hadn't intended to go without using it for so long. 

Either way, it's a good practice to re-sharpen your edges just in case. 

3. When It's Obviously Duller Than Usual

Assuming you've actively used your chainsaw for at least a few months, you should know what it feels like when it's working well and when it's not. It may need sharpening if you feel like it's taking longer to cut through wood or cutting worse than usual. 

Hand Filing or Machine Filing?

There are two chainsaw sharpener options: hand files and machine files. You'll need to decide on one of the two to make comparing chainsaw sharpening costs much easier on yourself. 

Hand Filing

A chainsaw sharpening file is only as good as the person handling it. It all depends on proper angling and knowing how long to grind for. With the right experience and expertise, you can produce results better than a machine.  

The drawback is that if done wrong, hand filing can make your chain worse off. 

Machine Filing

A machine filer comes with the grinding angles worked out in advance, so you don't need to be an expert. You'll get a more consistent and better edge faster than if you did it by hand. It's also less work on your part. 

Some options include special chainsaw sharpener features, such as different size sharpening stones and a degree angle guide. 

Electric chainsaw sharpeners are available in different voltages and sizes, such as a 12V chainsaw sharpener or a larger 240V option. Reading online reviews can help you decide which is best for your needs. 

Browse Our Selection of High-Quality Chainsaw Sharpeners

The best chainsaw sharpening tool for the job depends on various factors, including whether it's a hand or machine file. Some brands also provide more consistent quality than others. All that matters is that you're taking the time to maintain your chainsaw and prevent personal injury later. 

JONO & JOHNO is Australia's best online chainsaw parts suppliers. We have everything from chainsaw tools to lawn supplies and much more. Not sure which type of chainsaw chain sharpener to purchase? Call us now!